Philip Hammial


My mother? I’m wearing her as tight as I can, as
I always have in that house of religious purpose. Some
purpose, Death for a laugh when in fact
it’s an exercise in cross-dressing taken to a conga line
length, a Golden Mile of would-be starlets scratching &
tearing until they’re through to the other side, to: Zenshin
A-rippu kosu (a full-body A-lip course), Yoko shouting
Yam sentence! Yam sentence! while I swallow my pride
& get on with it. Note: when Yoko roars yours
truly a tumble in the hay takes with Betty, full-blooded
American girl, just to get back. Spiteful bastard, O just
to get back I do, I do. What Yoko deserves, her cupboard
far from bare, her rendezvous with the wall-eyed assassin
on the Street of the Unhorsed Imam, her commercial
plight with legs to match, her horde of urine in bedside
bottles, her moth-eaten collection of beaver tails.
I’m thinking of wearing her too.


How can I my hatchet with
if too close to a doctor you stick?
Everyone with my good face
gone a mile to mother who to women

always said: Music
might have the time to
but I don’t. I’m not among
those lucky few who are dress people, their shame

passed down (transferred) to those who demand
a keeper because they’ve got
a zoo to feed. A big zoo, as big
as the world. Why not feed

a human child instead? Go ahead,
take my milk money; plenty more
where that came from. To glory I’ll come
in any case. My path

isn’t walking; it’s running to…
…to my death with the help
of that déjà vu contraption I stupidly
put in motion, a moving walkway

at that too familiar airport – Babel
International. This baggage
is unattended. Touch it! Give voice
to a scream. Any minute now

we’re all dead. Or wake up
to the shudder of a tram passing through
our pretty pink bedroom, its passengers blind
to the pathetic tangle of our vein-

knotted legs. If only
I could get one up. Wouldn’t that be something
to write home about? – with
trembling hands mother opening

my first letter since her death. What’s
he up to now? – more words
in yet another book. God knows
to what purpose. Doing well

if he sells three. Fools
with money to burn. Ok, a big mistake
I confess to: Only one thing I did wrong
stayed in Oz thirty years too long. Gotten out

while the getting was good, might have avoided
this infernal machine, its instrument changed
but not the writing, a big time singer
who could with a hatchet do.

Back in 1990 Philip Hammial & his wife came within seconds of being murdered (re The Hatchet) by thugs in India. And this was Hammial’s fourth near-death experience. One would think that this series of unfortunate incidents might have suggested to H. that it was time to get his priorities right. But no such luck. At the ripe old age of 77 he’s still obsessively writing poetry & making found art sculpture.
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